Overpopulation in Asia: Manila

Manila is the thriving capital of the Republic of the Philippines. It’s also the densest city on Earth. However, just because Manila is extremely dense doesn’t mean the whole country is overpopulated- but what effects are felt from the overpopulation of cities like Manila, and to the country as a whole? How did this city/country get so dense in the first place? And what can we do about it?One effect of the overpopulation in the Philippines is the enormous trade deficit relating to the food consumption. On average, one Filipino will consume 28.8 kilograms (kg.) of meat annually. They will consume 40.15 kg. of fish a year. And in total, one Filipino will consume around 255.6 kg. of food a year. This means, as a country, the Philippines will consume 2,908,265,385.6 kg. of meat per year, 4,054,404,695.55 kg. of fish per year, and 25,810,855,297.2 kg. of food in total per year.However, though the Philippines consumes 2,908,265,385.6 kg. of meat per year, they only produce 4,660,360 kg. of meat per year. Following suit, the Philippines consumes 4,054,404,695.55 kg. of fish per year, and makes 3,113,700,000 kg. per year. These two numbers are quite alarming, as this means the Philippines is in a huge trade deficit- they consume much more meat annually than they produce. This means that they will have to import more than they can export, costing billions of dollars a year. This is a direct result of overpopulation in the Philippines, and shows how much overpopulation has affected the Philippines.Figure 1, shown above, demonstrates the trade deficit of food in the Philippines. Meat production is shown, but is too small to be seen on the chart.

The poverty in the Philippines is extremely apparent: the country is frequently ranked in the top spots of countries with the highest poverty rates. The poverty line is extremely low, at 100,534 pesos, or 5,329.31 USD. Compared to the US, with a poverty line of 22,541 USD (with approximately 14.5% of Americans falling below the US poverty level), this number is alarming. In 2017, 21.6% of Filipinos fell below the poverty line. However, curiously, a strange correlation exists between poverty in these countries and their average house size (by floor area).

To begin, it should be known that the average house size in the US has 895.7 meters. In this pie graph produced by the Philippine Statistics Authority, it is shown that over 90% of Filipinos live in housing with less than 895.7 meters in floor area. Most of the population lives in housing smaller than the average American apartment size (311 meters). This is a direct result of overpopulation in the Philippines. When a country is overpopulated (such as Japan), housing becomes less traditional, less big plots of land and nice, spread out homes. Apartments, more modern and compact forms of housing than traditional houses, are becoming extremely popular in countries such as Japan and the Philippines, because they can fit lots of people into a small amount of space. The amount of people overpopulating a country isn’t dealt with by building apartments, it’s only put off. Apartments aren’t a solution to overpopulation, only a deference.

The dilemma with apartments is tricky, because they aren’t bad, but they don’t fix overpopulation- they only put more people in less space. This makes denser cities, which leads to problems in city infrastructure, such as transportation and utility distribution. Theoretically, if everyone on Earth had the same amount of land to live on (excluding uninhabitable areas, such as mountains or deserts), we could fit every person on a plot of land about 2 acres in area. The only problem is that no one would ever conform to this idea- people wouldn’t want to live in places that they aren’t adapted to. And that’s the problem- human attachment.As humans, we grow to like things, dislike things, and we grow to call places and systems our home. So, if someone came and told you you’d be moving from Chicago to Zimbabwe, you’d probably protest- you’ve grown attached to your home, and the cultural systems of your home. If you told someone they’d be moving from their dream home into an apartment, they’d also probably protest- they worked hard for their dream home.

That’s why we can’t move everyone from a place where there are too many people, such as Manila, to a place without a lot of people, such as Canada. They wouldn’t want to go, and from a humanitarian point of view, you can’t force them to go, either.Large families are popular in farming-based places. In the US during the 1800’s, families with 6-9 children were extremely common. This is because the family needed unhired laborers to bring in their crops. Another reason is because the more people a family had, the more likely it was that some of the children would survive and help their parents when they became old. So, since the Philippines had a lot of families that focused on farming around World War II, many large families existed.However, after World War II, the government enacted many anti-market policies. As a result, roads were left unfinished and irrigation systems never built, and the poor conditions of seaports and airports crippled one of the nation’s best natural industries, agriculture. [Source: National Source, Population Growth in the Philippines: Problem or Potential?, 2011]; this affected many families, and made it so that the large-scale families known in agricultural nations weren’t efficient anymore. So, the country slowly began to decline in the rate of its population increase after World War II.

Figure 3, shown above, has shown the decline in population increase per year. The spread of the use of contraceptives and government support for abortion has also made the rate of change decline. In conclusion, we can see that because of various different reasons, the Philippines, and specifically Manila, are overpopulated. We have examined why overpopulation is such a hard issue to solve and deal with, and how today’s solutions to overpopulation are inefficient.

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